I have been attending ConnectiCon for over ten years now. When I first went, I enjoyed it, but felt that it was geared for people in their teens and twenties (I was cusping thirty then.) I had young geeky children, but I didn’t feel that this convention was for them. Besides, I liked my weekend away.
However, my kids would hear all about my adventures at this mystical world of geek fandom, and couldn’t wait to attend. I started taking my older nephew. When my daughter turned thirteen, I took her with me. Then my son was allowed to join in the nerdery and fun. And that’s when I started noticing families with young kids attending the Con. The con noticed this too and added some programming for kids. This year, there was a whole track just for the younger set. I love that.
Here are some pics of geeky families enjoying themselves and passing down the fun of fandom:
Sharing photos online has become the norm for most of us, and now when you share those photos you can also help a worthy cause with the Donate A Photo app.
It’s all thanks to the folks at Johnson & Johnson who are donating $1 to a worthy cause for every photo you share using the app. Which cause? Well, that’s up to you with a selection of ways that you can help people when you share your pictures.
One of the possible recipients is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and the app will tell you that when you choose them for your donation, that you’re helping to give a baby in the NICU a blanket. You can also choose Save the Children, the Family Equality Council, or any one of the worthy causes they’ve partnered with through the program.
You don’t pay a single thing to download the app as it’s entirely free. Just download the app for iOS or Android, then when you take your pictures, share them through the app. It will even post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account so you can share your pictures, and the app, with your friends and followers.
Next time you share a photo, you could be doing more help than you know. #DonateAPhoto
I’m a bit of a photo nerd in progress. I like to think that I’m getting better, and I as I pointed out in my recent travel gift guide, I’ve been learning my way around the Panasonic camera that I got a few months ago. One of the things I love about having a good camera is being able to make thoughtful gifts for my family using, well, their favorite things: pictures of my kids.
With a baby daughter, you could say I have a corner on the market when it comes to that. She’s the youngest, and both sets of grandparents (and extended family) are smitten with her to say the least!
I was excited to try out the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, because right now I just don’t have time for complication. My life is currently a revolving door of responsibility, appointments, and transition around every corner. As much as I enjoy using more complicated programs, Elements helped me boil it down to the basics and put something together quickly and easily. There is no price on that!
The dashboard is straightforward, and the presets allow you to create a variety of, well, elements, with hardly more than a few clicks. No worries about formatting or measuring. You open up the organizer, you select what pictures you want (in this case a photo collage) and then the editor gets set up just as you need it. You can let the program create the design for you, but it still allows you to go in and edit. I like the fact that it’s got three modes: Quick, Guided, and Expert. This means that if, like me, you like to roll up your sleeves and get a little creative, you can. And it’s easy.
Controls and commands are boiled down, but still are familiar for those using Photoshop–you can shift layers, alignment, edit colors and text, even apply layer masks if you like. There’s great little cutouts for different shapes (like I used in the photo above), not to mention a variety of very helpful presets if you’re not feeling creative. And as the mother of a nine month old who apparently thinks 4am is a perfectly good time to wake, I can certainly sympathize.
All in all, Photoshop Elements 11 is a very intuitive program that’s ideal for crafting projects, cards, calendars, and all manner of gifts and photo expressions. I highly recommend it! It currently retails at $99.99–a bargain for the versatility, especially if you aren’t ready to go all-in with the full Photoshop experience and want a more streamlined approach to photo editing.
And to celebrate the season of love, we’re giving away a free copy of Photoshop Elements 11! Just tell us in the comments how you’d best use Photoshop Elements 11 and you’ll be entered to win (randomly, of course). Our winner will be notified and receive a copy in the mail.
I was given a copy of the software for the purpose of this review.
Ion’s iPics 2 Go gives iPhone users (3GS to 4S) the ability to take their cherished photo memories from paper to digital. With the help of a free app and a little black box, you can transfer your hard copy memories into digital treasures.
When I opened the box and saw how simple this device was, I started to have my doubts. You can’t get much simpler than this.
The box itself just a simple black box with a spot to place your iPhone and a slit in the bottom to slip either a 3×5 photo, 4×6 photo or 35mm negative slides. The light in the box runs off of AA batteries (included) which allows you to work anywhere, without needing a power strip to turn it on.
I really appreciate this feature because I like to work in the middle of my bedroom floor and having power cables stretched over the floor is a safety hazard with my son running around.
After downloading the free app, I did some digging and found a few baby pictures of my son that needed transferring and got to work. To start, choose the photo you want to scan and place it in the corresponding plastic frame, slide it into the box, in the app, select the type of media you are converting and then hit the camera button to take the picture. The app can fix some of the quality issues on its own, but you may need a stronger program to do more extensive repairs.
The quality wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen either. I decided to chalk it up to the quality of the negatives and pictures, instead of blaming the device itself. For the price ($49.99), it’s not a bad little iPhone accessory. If you want to catalog all of your 4×6 photos or negatives onto Facebook, this should do you just fine.
Being the picture hog that I am though, I’m not ready to use it as a means to get rid of all my paper photos just yet.
So are you going to watch for the red carpet fashions, the hilarious antics of host Billy Crystal or to find out which of the prospective films will be crowned Best Picture?
There is one little girl that has done her research for the past two years, baby Sophia! She is the star of a blog called “Don’t Call Me Oscar“, where, with a little help from photographer (and mom) Maggie Storino, Sophia has creatively recreated the movie posters and famous scenes from each of the Best Picture nominees.
Sophia has kept her Oscar winner guesses a highly guarded surprise, but which nominated film is your favorite of 2011? Or more importantly which is your favorite recreation? Comment Below!
Pinterest is taking off in a big way. The virtual pin board site lets you visually organize favorite projects, wish lists, tips, recipes, and books. Or pretty pictures like this shot of a gerber daisy that my son recently took. With Pinterest, you can use a special little bookmarklet to add the image to one of your boards. Other people might see the picture on Pinterest and think it’s lovely and RE-pin it to one of their boards. There is some really cool stuff showing up on Pinterest.
But here’s the rub. While Pinterest allows users to share some great inspirational images, it’s also opening up a can of copyright worms that’s working its way across social media. I noticed several months ago that many of the images on my Pinterest feed were also showing up on Facebook pages that I followed. But instead of sharing the image as a link that would take viewers to the original post or even to the pin board they’d found it on, people were uploading the image directly to their Facebook photo albums. On Pinterest, folks are sharing images without maintaining the link to the original source.
As an author, I’m acutely aware of copyright issues. My work has been plagiarized and turned in as student work, and it’s shown up on websites – copied verbatim – under another person’s byline. Those incidents notwithstanding, most of us were taught in school that it’s not cool to plagiarize the written word. But photos are another matter entirely. Who didn’t cut National Geographic images from magazines to enhance a geography report? While our teachers recognized that using an author’s words as our own was unfair use, utilizing a photographer’s work without proper credit didn’t give them pause.
But those were just simple book reports. Now we have the Internet, where we encounter countless images every day and with a simple cut and paste, can share those great images with our friends and followers. Easy, peasy.
But wait! Don’t you think the photographer who took that great shot of Niagra Falls would want credit for his work? Don’t you think the blogger who took the time to take pictures and write out instructions for how to make Princess Leia cupcakes would want you to visit her site for the details?
Think of it this way. What if you knit a sweater and I took it and gave it to my mom and told her I made it? Even though I suck at knitting? That would be unfair, yes? Or what if you brought your killer vegetarian chili to a potluck at my place and I told everyone that I’d made it? So not cool, right?
This has been a sore spot with me as I watch some really fabulous ideas appear on my Facebook and Pinterest feeds without the artist receiving credit. I’ve mentioned my concerns to some Facebook page owners, but they’re just not getting it. Others are still posting photos to their own albums in what I think is an effort to drive traffic to their pages, adding a cursory link to the original photo. Sure, people can now locate the origin of the photo or idea, but the person who posts in this manner is still giving the impression that the photo is theirs. If you go to my Facebook page and click on ‘photos’ you’ll see this across the top of the page: Attainable Sustainable’s Photos. Does that lead you to believe those photos are mine? And that I have the right to post them? I’m betting so.
It turns out I’m not the only one who’s taking issue with all of this uncredited sharing. Link with Love is working to encourage people to share photos responsibly. While they don’t address the Facebook issue at all (that’s my particular gripe) they’re suggesting a neighborhood watch type plan to protect intellectual property. Their Dear Pinterest post has some simple suggestions for pinning kindly. Retain links. Post credits. Link with love, they say.
Photographer Sean Locke takes a stronger stand, questioning whether Pinterest itself is actually infringing upon artists’ copyright.
It sure sounds like copying people’s photographs without authorization would be copyright infringment [sic]. Yet, Pinterest seems to be encouraging people to scour the web, pinning (copying to their servers) artwork created by others: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.”
In a follow up post, he discusses the idea of fair use. Is it fair use to share a photographer’s “all rights reserved” image from Flickr? I’m going with no. In this case, the photographer has explicitly spelled out the fact that s/he is reserving all rights, right there in black and white.
Here at GeekMom we have this discussion a lot. We like our posts to have great photos. But at the same time, we’ve passed up some really fun stories simply because we didn’t receive a response to our request for permission to use a photo. We can’t just grab an image we love and use it. We use images that are in the public domain, creative commons, or images that we have permission to post.
Being cognizant of the fact that photos on the web are someone’s intellectual property and not a free for all is the first step toward making sure that artists are credited for their work. I’m no lawyer and who knows if Pinterest will face legal issues for copyright infringement down the road, but it seems like there are a few simple steps that pinners can take to reduce the frustration of artists.
1. Always pin from an original source. This way, it’s easy enough for people to get to the original content, which is especially important if there is a recipe or instructions to go with an image.
2. For goodness sake, don’t copy the text of an entire post and share it along with the pinned image. Again with the copyright infringement! Plus, it makes my feed really hard to read.
3. A site or blog that features a “pin it” button welcomes your pinning. Artists websites that feature a portfolio, probably not so much.
4. If you’re an artist or blogger who’s concerned about having your stuff out there on the web sans credit, consider using a watermark on your images as I’ve done with the gerber daisy photo.
Artist Kal Barteski offers even more suggestions. I truly hope you’ll go have a look and join me in making sure that the hard work of artists and bloggers you love is credited to the right person. I also invite you to pin this post, using the gerber daisy image (which, incidentally, my son has given me permission to use) with a note about pinning responsibly.
I had never heard of this website, despite the fact that they’ve been around for four years now. It wasn’t until I was at a playdate with a friend of mine who also has a Nikon D90 that the subject came up. This is my “photography friend.” We love to talk endlessly about our struggles and achievements with getting the perfect shot. We talk about the lenses we are trying out, speedlights, working with moving targets, and basically any tips or tricks we’ve discovered. Both of us are self-taught, so it’s very rewarding to triumph over an obstacle – and equally as frustrating when you can’t figure out what you are doing wrong! (In the interest of full disclosure, I did take a class in 2010, but found that I learned more about photoshop than about taking the actual shot. Tragically, I don’t use Photoshop. I use Aperture. Sad Panda!)
So anyway, I am at her house, and we’re talking about making the big jump to manual, and how nervewracking it is. And how once you’re in manual – you can’t just hand off your camera to someone else at a party or something and say “Hey! Take a picture of me!” And she says to me, “Well, even if I was in full auto, I couldn’t just hand my camera off because I do this crazy back focus thing now.”
This is me: “??!!?”
She says, “Oh yeah! I found this amazing website called Clickin’ Moms! I signed up for the trial period of a week and really committed myself to getting the most out of it, and found all these amazing tips and tricks. You should take a look at it.”
So off I go!
Turns out that back in March of 2008, a professional photographer named Kendra Okolita established Clickin Moms as a safe place for women to share their photos and passion for photography. It used to be made up of about 100 women – but in the last four years it’s grown to nearly 9000 members – and thankfully, it hasn’t lost the warmth and camaraderie of a small community.
This community is described on the site as “artists, hobbyists and professional photographers,” which basically means that there are people from all walks of life and all levels of experience on there. The first thing I noticed when I started poking around the forums was that they lacked the snobbery and elitism found on so many other enthusiast websites. You know what I mean? It’s extremely warm and friendly there. What a nice feeling to know that you aren’t going to get made fun of, or looked down upon because you don’t know the technical term for something. Otherwise, how are you supposed to learn? For instance, when I first started taking pictures, I didn’t know what bokeh was. I knew I wanted my pictures to have the subject in sharp focus and the background to be blurry. ButI had no idea how to achieve that effect. How lovely it would have been to have a resource where I could ask, “How the heck do I do that?” and not worry about being looked down upon, or flat out ignored for being a rube. This is the advantage to having all levels of experience in one place. Layman’s terms! You’ve heard the phrase, “There are no stupid questions,” right? It rings true here. Your question may help someone else who is wondering the same thing. I saw people asking things like “Hey, how do I get my subject’s skin to look all velvety?” and people took the time to answer them in detail, guiding them through camera settings and after effects.
Within the first week of having access to the forums, I learned how to back focus, found someone sharing a great work flow for Aperture, and a step by step guide to making that scary switch to manual.
And DUDES, I haven’t even scratched the surface of the forums! I’ve been working my way through ONE sticky post called “CM New Member Guide – UPDATED.” – It’s a comprehensive guide to Clickin’ Moms meant to help new members feel less overwhelmed. (Meanwhile, I feel overwhelmed just trying to tell you about how awesome this website is.) Within this post, written by a CM Pro Mentor, it’s suggested you check out the following tutorials:
Learning to shoot Manual Skinny Wednesday: The Basics of Skin Color Correction Metering Tutorial Let’s talk focus Using curves to get that “creamy” skintone…. Lesson/Challenge on getting proper exposure Natural light during the day Sharpening Images Tutorial: Making grass and colorful clothes POP!!! Catchlight lesson Relationship Between ISO, Aperture & Shutter Speed Masking Basics Tutorial
DON’T YOU WANT TO DO/LEARN ALL OF THESE THINGS? I DO! Even if I forget my address and home phone number because I have all of these awesome new facts to stuff in my brain, it will be worth it. (And besides, I can always ask Siri to tell me my address and phone number.)
If you are a hobbyist and decide that you want to take it to the next level, there are guides to going pro. There are tons of business tips and workshops, as well as support from professional photographers. In 2010 Clickin Moms established CMPro – a place for professional, more advanced photographers to discuss their craft in a warm and friendly environment. I love this definition from the website: “the mark of professionalism is defined not by a business license but by the mastery of the craft.”
The Clickin’ Moms blog is free, and if you are into photography at all, I highly suggest you put it on your RSS, because it’s quite inspirational and features fantastic interviews with professional photographers, as well as interesting photo challenges. If you want to dive in, read the forums, and participate, you must pay to join the community. I recommend you take the plunge. The price of a lifetime membership is ONE THIRD of the price I paid for a class that I got maybe 2 things out of – but you can pay for a week, 6 months, or a year.
Here’s some good news! I contacted some of the amazing women that run Clickin’ Moms, and they agreed to do a giveaway! So, go right now to Clickin Moms, and put in the code GEEKMOMTRIAL and you will get a 7 day trial period. You can learn so much in 7 days.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Someone’s going to win a 6 month membership at Clickin Moms! I know! WUT!??!
This is the deal: to win the 6 months, you have to be a new member. So if you’ve joined recently, or you’ve always been meaning to join – now is a great time to do it! (and yes, if you do the free trial, you are eligible as a “new member.”) Once you’ve joined, or have used the free trial coupon — go like the Clickin Moms Facebook page, and then let me know that you did it in the comments here at Geek Mom. We’ll choose someone from our comments in a random drawing as our winner!
I’m so excited about this, and I can’t wait to see you guys over there. Have fun, get inspired, and happy clicking!
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest over the last four weeks. What a whirlwind! Last week’s winner is Trishden (and while I’m always team Weasley I can understand that there’s just something about Severus…)
Because any good project is only as good as our printer. For reference, we had an HP all-in-one before Kodak sent the ESP C310 my way. And we were generally happy with it. At least, marginally so. I mean, printers are only as good as the ink you use, right? And the last time we went and bought ink (right before a hurried convention appearance where I was supposed to be printing out little cards for promotion) we just about broke bank. Not to mention that the printer was notoriously finicky with my MacBook Pro.
Well, I’m happy to report that there were no such problems with the Kodak All-in-One ESP C310. Setup was a snap, and after a restart and a short calibration period, we were connected to the printer via wireless network. Wireless printing is one of those things I marvel at, still. Geek that I am I can’t help but feel like printing without a cord in the middle is just a little magic.
Add to that that the price of ink for the ESP C310 is significantly lower than our previous printer, and that the print quality is great… well, I’m a happy camper, let’s just say.
However, I am biased. Sure, there are all sorts of camps when it comes to the Harry Potter oeuvre. But personally there is no home like the Burrow, and no hero like Ron Weasley. Okay so he’s a little tempestuous at times. And the whole fight between Ron and Harry really dragged out in Book Four, to the point where I wanted to knock both their skulls together. But when it comes down to it, Weasley really is my king. He’s the most likely character to make me laugh, cry, and giggle. Yes, admittedly I have a thing for ginger guys. But that’s hardly the point!
While there were a few odd bugs with the Macintosh version — switching between windows caused the program to blank out until I clicked on “Home” and it does not fill the whole screen — the tweenager in me was still quite thrilled to print a project featuring my most favorite wizard. And if I were so inclined I could also emblazon his face upon banners, doorhangers, and calendars, all as easily as if I had a wand of my own.
A friend of mine just sent me a link to a marvelous photography blog. I’m enchanted with these self-portraits of Natsumi Hayashi- who always photographs herself levitating. That’s right, let me say that again – these are SELF-PORTRAITS!
After years of following the Adventures of the Dancing Kids, I guess I’m a sucker for photo essays like this. These also have the added effect of making my heart ache for Tokyo.
The site is called Yowayowa because – in Natsumi’s own words:
“yowayowa is a Japanese term meaning ‘weak’ or ‘feeble.’ Since I’m yowayowa, it’s really heavy to carry SLR cameras around.”
She shares her method of getting these photos – anyone want to take up the gauntlet in another city?
Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re already in week four of our Kodak and GeekMom giveaway! We’ve been busy putting our own printers to work (which were given to the four editors, Jenny, Kathy, Corinna, and myself) provided by Kodak (you can learn about my favorite Harry Potter character later this week and the inspiration behind my Kodak Design Gallery creations!). But on top of that they’ve been helping us give away one printer a week to a lucky commenter! Last week’s winner, chosen by random number generator, was Peter! Congratulations, Peter!
Just to recap, here’s a little more about the giveaway:
Kodak sent samples of their printers and software to GeekMom editors Jenny, Natania, Kathy and myself so we could try them out, and they’re fantastic! With the Kodak Design Gallery Software featuring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 2 DVD , you can print your own Harry Potter posters, party decorations, notecards, and more! And the Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer is easy to install and easy to use, even on a home network. On Wednesday, I’ll be talking about some projects that I made using the software, including some cool posters.
And if you want to enter to win your very own Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer and Kodak Design Gallery Software featuring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 2, you’ve got three more chances to win.
For this week’s giveaway, go to the end of this post and leave us a comment describing your favorite character/crush in the movies and books.
Submit your comment by midnight Friday night, July 15th6 pm Eastern time Sunday night, July 17, and we’ll choose one winner at random from all the entries received.
Don’t forget, you’re invited to share your Harry Potter-related photos and images with us by adding them to the GeekMom Flickr group! We’d love to see them.
And please visit our sponsor Kodak.com for more Harry Potter goodness over the coming weeks. Thanks to Kodak for joining GeekMom in our Harry Potter celebration!
The Kodak Design Gallery Software lets you make your own fun Harry Potter printables using over 300 images and graphic elements. You can use it to make invitations, banners, collector cards, door hangers, posters, and lots more cool printable projects using images from the movies. It also includes a collection of Harry Potter crests, borders, patterns, icons, swatches, and phrases. Using the unique customization tools, you can add your own photos, type in your own text, draw, color, rotate and scale the images to create your own personalized designs. Or select a pre-designed template, add any special touches you want, and just print!
The Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer that will be included with all four giveaways is a wireless printer with an easy Wi-Fi setup. And it’s affordable — it’s priced at $99, and it uses KODAK 30 Series Ink Cartridges with the lowest ink replacement cost in the industry. Like all KODAK All-in-One Printers, the C310 Printer delivers crisp, sharp text documents, brilliant graphics, and KODAK Lab-Quality Photos that dry instantly and last a lifetime.
On Wednesday we’ll be sharing some of the designs made by GeekMom Jenny Williams and her family using the Kodak Design Gallery Software and the Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer. In the meantime, enter to win a Kodak Design Gallery Software featuring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 2 DVD and a Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer of your very own by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post, telling us your plans for the culmination of the great Harry Potter movie series next month! You have until midnight Friday night to enter this week’s drawing. And we’ll have a drawing each week, so you have four chances to win!
We’d also love to see your Harry Potter-related photos and images, so put a link to them in your comment, or just add them to the GeekMom Flickr group! We’ll feature the best in future posts.
And be sure to visit Kodak.com for more Harry Potter goodness over the coming weeks. Thanks to Kodak for inviting GeekMom readers to be a part of their celebration!
(UPDATE: We’ll be giving away four Kodak packages, each with the Kodak Design Gallery Software featuring Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 2 DVD and the Kodak ESP C310 All-in-One Printer!)
Anyone familiar with me knows that I have a camera on my person at all times. If you see me walking down the street, I have a camera. I’m here, therefore I shoot.
Wait. My first post for GeekMom and I’ve told a lie. The truth is that I’m usually carrying anywhere from 3 to 4 cameras most of the time. My daughter, Vivienne is coming up on 17 months and she’s already more photographed than Princess Di. No joke – we’re talking necessary-2-terabyte-external-hard-drive kind of photographed.
The thousands of pictures are the result of a perfect storm. It starts with the fact that I’m, of course, very much in love with my little girl and find her utterly FASCINATING. It’s also because I keep my DSLR on “burst” mode, a little trick I learned in photography class for “not missing a moment.” Some of it is because I’ve been a writer over at G4 TV for years, a very tech-oriented network, so I’m very interested in and attracted to the latest cameras with their shiny bells and whistles. And of course, there’s a dash of something I like to call: WHAT THE HECK IS MY PROBLEM I THINK I AM ADDICTED TO CAMERAS PLEASE SEND HELP.
So, going back to our imaginary scenario where you “see me walking down the street,” you can rest assured that in my diaper bag, I am carrying my Canon s95 point and shoot (which just replaced my Canon SD940 as of this Christmas) and my Flip Mino HD. And of course, in one of my pockets somewhere will be my ubiquitous iPhone, which doubles as a still and video camera in a pinch. And depending on how hectic my morning was, I will be lugging my Nikon D90 around too.
Maybe it sounds excessive, but for realzz and true, each one serves a unique purpose. The DSLR takes gorgeous photos, so why a point and shoot too? Because a) sometimes I don’t want to lug the Nikon around and b) sometimes you can grab moments with a point and shoot that you just can’t get with a DSLR.
As for the point and shoot vs. the Flip: Yes, my point and shoot takes video – very nice quality video as a matter of fact, so why carry the Flip? Because it’s a pain in the butt to email video I’ve taken with the P&S. But the Flip has software that makes it super easy to blast email the grandparents! As for the iPhone? Well, now you’re talking instant gratification. Baby does something cute, Grandparents know in a matter of MOMENTS. Especially the ones hip enough to receive SSM.
And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the myriad of camera apps available in the App Store that transform the iPhone into all manner of toy cameras. But that’s a post for another time. Right now, I’d like to know what you’re shooting with out there, and what you love or hate about your cameras. I truly would.